Selection from NTSB
Report: History of Flight (pgs. 3-5)
At 0147:55, the relief first officer stated, "Look, here's the new first officer's
pen. Give it to him please. God spare you,"(9) and, at 0147:58, someone responded,
"yeah." At 0148:03, the command captain stated, "Excuse me, [nickname for relief
first officer], while I take a quick trip to the toilet...before it gets crowded.
While they are eating, and I'll be back to you." While the command captain was
speaking, the relief first officer responded, "Go ahead please," and the CVR
recorded the sound of an electric seat motor as the captain maneuvered to leave
his seat and the cockpit. At 0148:18.55, the CVR recorded a sound similar to
the cockpit door operating.
At 0148:30, about 11 seconds after the captain left the cockpit, the CVR recorded
an unintelligible comment. (10) Ten seconds later (about 0148:40), the relief
first officer stated quietly, "I rely on God."(11) There were no sounds or events
recorded by the flight recorders that would indicate that an airplane anomaly
or other unusual circumstance preceded the relief first officer's statement,
"I rely on God."
At 0149:18, the CVR recorded the sound of an electric seat motor. FDR data
indicated that, at 0149:45 (27 seconds later), the autopilot was disconnected.
(12) Aside from the very slight movement of both elevators (the left elevator
moved from about a 0.7° to about a 0.5° nose-up deflection, and the right elevator
moved from about a 0.35° nose-up to about a 0.3° nose-down deflection) (13)
and the airplane's corresponding slight nose-down pitch change, which were recorded
within the first second after autopilot disconnect, and a very slow (0.5° per
second) left roll rate, the airplane remained essentially in level flight about
FL 330 for about 8 seconds after the autopilot was disconnected. At 0149:48,
the relief first officer again stated quietly, "I rely on God." At 0149:53,
the throttle levers were moved from their cruise power setting to idle, and,
at 0149:54, the FDR recorded an abrupt nose-down elevator movement and a very
slight movement of the inboard ailerons. Subsequently, the airplane began to
rapidly pitch nose down and descend.
Between 0149:57 and 0150:05, the relief first officer quietly repeated, "I
rely on God," seven additional times. (14) During this time, as a result of
the nose-down elevator movement, the airplane's load factor (15) decreased from
about 1 to about 0.2 G. (16) Between 0150:04 and 0150:05 (about 10 to 11 seconds
after the initial nose-down movement of the elevators), the FDR recorded additional,
slightly larger inboard aileron movements, and the elevators started moving
further in the nose-down direction. Immediately after the FDR recorded the increased
nose-down elevator movement, the CVR recorded the sounds of the captain asking
loudly (beginning at 0150:06), "What's happening? What's happening?," as he
returned to the cockpit.
The airplane's load factor decreased further as a result of the increased
nose-down elevator deflection, reaching negative G loads (about -0.2 G) between
0150:06 and 0150:07. During this time (and while the captain was still speaking
[at 0150:07]), the relief first officer stated for the tenth time, "I rely on
God." Additionally, the CVR transcript indicated that beginning at 0150:07,
the CVR recorded the "sound of numerous thumps and clinks," which continued
for about 15 seconds.
According to the CVR and FDR data, at 0150:08, as the airplane exceeded its
maximum operating airspeed (0.86 Mach), a master warning alarm began to sound.
(The warning continued until the FDR and CVR stopped recording at 0150:36.64
and 0150:38.47, respectively.) (17) Also at 0150:08, the relief first officer
stated quietly for the eleventh and final time, "I rely on God," and the captain
repeated his question, "What's happening?" At 0150:15, the captain again asked,
"What's happening, [relief first officer's first name]? What's happening?" At
this time, as the airplane was descending through about 27,300 feet msl, the
FDR recorded both elevator surfaces beginning to move in the nose-up direction.
Shortly thereafter, the airplane's rate of descent began to decrease. (18) At
0150:21, about 6 seconds after the airplane's rate of descent began to decrease,
the left and right elevator surfaces began to move in opposite directions; the
left surface continued to move in the nose-up direction, and the right surface
reversed its motion and moved in the nose-down direction.
The FDR data indicated that the engine start lever switches for both engines
moved from the run to the cutoff position between 0150:21 and 0150:23. (19)
Between 0150:24 and 0150:27, the throttle levers moved from their idle position
to full throttle, the speedbrake handle moved to its fully deployed position,
and the left elevator surface moved from a 3º nose-up to a 1º nose-up position,
then back to a 3º nose-up position. (20) During this time, the CVR recorded
the captain asking, "What is this? What is this? Did you shut the engine(s)?"
Also, at 0150:26.55, the captain stated, "Get away in the engines," (21) and,
at 0150:28.85, the captain stated, "shut the engines." At 0150:29.66, the relief
first officer stated, "It's shut."
Between 0150:31 and 0150:37, the captain repeatedly stated, "Pull with me."
However, the FDR data indicated that the elevator surfaces remained in a split
condition (with the left surface commanding nose up and the right surface commanding
nose down) until the FDR and CVR stopped recording at 0150:36.64 and 0150:38.47,
respectively. (The last transponder [secondary radar] return from the accident
airplane was received at the radar site at Nantucket, Massachusetts, at 0150:34.)
9) The context of this statement indicates that the relief first officer was
talking to the command first officer and that the "new first officer" to whom
the relief first officer was referring was a pilot who had been in the cockpit
earlier in the flight and who was seated in the cabin at the time of this statement.
(According to the Cockpit Voice Recorder Group Chairman's Factual Report, an
Arabic-speaking member of the Cockpit Voice Recorder Group identified the voices
of six flight crewmembers and one flight attendant recorded in the cockpit at
various times during the accident flight.)
10) According to the CVR transcript, "the five Arabic speaking members of
the [CVR] group concur that they do not recognize this as an Arabic word, words,
or phrase. The entire group agrees that three syllables are heard and the accent
is on the second syllable. Four Arabic speaking group members believe that they
heard words similar to 'control it.' One English speaking member believes that
he heard a word similar to 'hydraulic.' The five other members believe that
the word(s) were unintelligible." For additional information regarding the computer
analysis of this comment, see the section titled, "Cockpit Voice Recorder."
11) This phrase (recorded on the CVR in Arabic as "Tawakkalt Ala Allah") was
originally interpreted to mean "I place my fate in the hands of God." The interpretation
of this Arabic statement was later amended to "I rely on God." According to
an EgyptAir and ECAA presentation to Safety Board staff on April 28, 2000, this
phrase "is very often used by the Egyptian layman in day to day activities to
ask God's assistance for the task at hand."
12) No autopilot disconnect warning tone was heard on the CVR recording. According
to the system design, an autopilot disconnect warning is generated unless the
autopilot is disconnected manually, either by clicking the control yoke-mounted
autopilot disconnect switch twice within 0.5 second or by moving the autopilot
switch on the instrument panel.
13) Throughout the FDR data for the accident airplane (including data recorded
during uneventful portions of the accident flight and during previous flights
and ground operations), small (less than 1°) differences between the left and
right elevator surface positions were observed. The left and right elevator
surface movements were consistent (that is, moved in the same direction about
the same time) where these offsets were observed. According to Boeing, there
are several factors that could result in differences between the left and right
elevator surfaces, including rigging of the elevator control system, tolerances
within the system's temperature compensation rods, routing differences between
the left and right elevator control cables, friction distribution within the
system, the accuracy of the sensors used to measure elevator position, and differences
in FDR sampling times for the left and right elevator parameters.
14) Although earlier statements made by the relief first officer were recorded
by the hot microphone at the first officer's position, the "I rely on God" statements
were not, which was consistent with these statements being spoken relatively
quietly. For additional information, see the section titled, "Audio Information
Recorded by First Officer's Hot Microphone."
15) An airplane's normal load factor is approximately perpendicular to the
airplane's wings. Although the terms "vertical load factor," "vertical acceleration,"
and "normal load factor" are often used interchangeably, for the purposes of
this document, the term "load factor" is used.
16) A G is a unit of measurement of force on a body undergoing acceleration
as a multiple of its weight. The normal load factor for an airplane in straight
and level flight is about 1 G. As the load factor decreases from 1 G, objects
would become increasingly weightless, and at 0 G, those objects would float.
At load factors less than 0 G (negative G), loose objects would float toward
the ceiling, and, at -1 G, those objects would accelerate toward the ceiling.
17) .The cessation of the FDR and CVR recordings was consistent with the loss
of electrical power to the recorders that resulted from the engines being shut
off. Although the FDR recorded different parameters at different sampling rates
and at slightly different times, the last subframe of recorded data was recorded
18) According to calculations based on FDR data, the airplane's maximum rate
of descent was about 39,000 feet per minute (fpm); this rate was recorded at
19) The engine start lever switches control the flow of fuel to the engines
and are located on the center console between the pilot positions. When these
levers are moved to the cutoff position, fuel flow to the engines is stopped,
and the engines stop operating within about 5 or 6 seconds. They are spring-loaded,
lever-lock design switches that must be pulled up to release from one detent
before they can be moved to the other position, where they will engage in another
20) The Safety Board's simulator tests demonstrated that an EgyptAir pilot
similar in size to the command captain was able to occupy the captain's seat
without physical interference; brace himself against the center console or floor
structure; readily apply back pressure on the control column; and reach the
throttles, speedbrakes, and other controls on the central console with the seat
in its aft position. (The Board recognizes that the simulations could not duplicate
the near 0 G loads recorded by the FDR during the accident sequence; however,
such near 0 G loads were present only momentarily after the recovery started
and should not have substantially affected the fore-and-aft forces either pilot
could generate once normally seated and effectively braced.)
21) According to participants in the Cockpit Voice Recorder Group (which included
several Arabic/English speakers), occasionally the direct translation of Arabic
words into English resulted in awkward or seemingly inappropriate phrases. Throughout
the CVR transcript, the Cockpit Voice Recorder Group provided as direct a translation
as possible; however, it did not attempt to interpret or analyze the words or
the intent of the speaker.
22) .Surveillance radars fall into two categories: primary (also known as
"search") and secondary (also known as "beacon"). Secondary radar broadcasts
an interrogation signal to which equipment on board an airplane automatically
responds by transmitting information to the ground-based site for processing
and display. Secondary radar returns contain an identification code and altitude
data. Primary radar broadcasts radio waves and detects the reflections of the
waves off objects (including airplanes). Primary radar reflections do not contain
any unique identification information. (For additional information, see the
Aircraft Performance Group Chairman's Aircraft Performance Study.)